Triple Crown Cocktails For The Races

Triple Crown Cocktails For The Races

By Laura Fagan Published April 2023

The Triple Crown races are more than just a test of speed and endurance - they're also an excuse to dig through your closet for some fancy threads and mix up some winning cocktails.

Each event of the Triple Crown has its own unique history and signature drink, and while we may not be able to enjoy the races from the grandstands this year, we can fake it till we make it with our breakdown of the best race day cocktails. So, saddle up for a journey through the history of three Triple Crown race cocktails: the Mint Julep, the Black-Eyed Susan and the Belmont Jewel.

Kentucky Derby | Mint Julep

They say the Kentucky Derby is “the most exciting two minutes in sports," but we beg to differ. We’d say the real fun on Derby Day is found inside a frosty stainless-steel cup. That’s right, we’re talking about the Mint Julep.

The Mint Julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1939, and it's estimated that over 120,000 Mint Juleps are served during the two-day event. That’s a whole lot of bourbon! This infamous Churchill Downs cocktail is made with just a few simple ingredients: bourbon, sugar, water and fresh mint leaves, all served over crushed ice. Check out our video below to learn how to make the best Mint Julep with Secretariat-like speed.

Woodford Reserve Mint Julep

The Recipe:

Express the oil of 3 mint leaves by gently rubbing them around the inside of the rim of a glass. Toss mint. Add simple syrup and bourbon to the cup. Fill cup halfway full of crushed ice. Stir until the liquid is completely chilled. Once it’s chilled, completely fill the cup with ice and garnish with a mint sprig.



Preakness Stakes | Black-Eyed Susan

The second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, takes place in Baltimore, Maryland at the Pimlico Race Course, where the Black-Eyed Susan has been part of racing tradition since the 20th century. This fruity, refreshing cocktail shares its name with the state flower of Maryland and is a must-have accessory for race day. The classic Preakness cocktail is made with a trio of spirits - bourbon, peach schnapps and vodka along with fresh orange juice and sour mix. The signature blend of gentle spice, smooth vodka and sweet juices make this race day cocktail a true crowd-pleaser.

Black-Eyed Susan

The Recipe:

Add whiskey, schnapps, vodka, juice and sour mix to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a tall glass over ice. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

Belmont Stakes | Belmont Jewel

The Belmont Stakes is the oldest and final event of the prestigious Triple Crown race series. It takes place in Elmont, New York, and the Belmont Jewel is the true star of the show. This cool cocktail is made with bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice shaken and served over ice with a lemon wheel. It was created in 2011 as a modern, more refreshing twist on the traditional Belmont Breeze - a bourbon and sherry-based cocktail that was Belmont’s signature cocktail for nearly a decade and a half. This drink is a top contender for the race day crown, offering a refreshing mix of sweet and tart flavors.

Belmont Jewel

The Recipe:

Add bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Let’s raise a glass to the tradition and thrill of the Triple Crown races - not just for the horses, but for the excuse to drink delicious cocktails in fancy hats. Whether you're all about the classic Mint Julep, can't resist the fruity charm of the Black-Eyed Susan or prefer to keep things cool with the Belmont Jewel, there’s a perfect cocktail to shake up for each race.

Trot on down to your local ABC store and fill your saddle bags with everything you need to mix up some Derby Day winners or shop online at Cheers and may the best horse win!

Interested in learning more? Visit our ABC Articles page.